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Creating a Fireball

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Christian Griffin
Creating a Fireball
on Nov 7, 2009 at 3:31:30 am

I am fairly new to Adobe After Effects, I've used a few tutorials on here to make the Harry Potter opening title and the 'conjuring fire using your hands' using particle playground. I'm now undertaking a new challenge: I want to create the effect that I am literally hurling fireballs, similar to what is seen in this scene:


I'm sure a good way to start would be to create a layer that is basically a circle and apply effects similar to those in the particle playground fire tutorial. However, as I'm sure you'll notice, the fire in that tutorial, while remarkable, is still hardly realistic at all. How does one build up an effect as incredible as this?

(Obviously I don't think I'll be able to achieve the highly paid professionals who developed the TV show this scene is in did. But I'm looking to get pointed in the right direction to be able to do so someday.)

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keith mcgregor
Re: Creating a Fireball
on Nov 7, 2009 at 6:06:15 pm

There are many ways but you have already begun
the right path. Find fire footage to blend with
your sphere. Warp it to the sphere in multiple layers
using different blend modes, add a little vector blur
and turbulent displace for more bubbly fun. Finding
fire footage with mattes or keyed bkgrnd at stock
Footage places. Or yu could get a 3d package and
line up the shots and make a flaming sphere animated to your liking!
Have fun! -K

Reality? What did you make it?

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Walter Soyka
Re: Creating a Fireball
on Nov 7, 2009 at 9:56:08 pm

One thing to add to Keith's good advice to really help sell the shot -- don't just focus on the fireball; also be aware how the fireball would interact with its environment. If you rewatch the clip you linked to, you'll see the fireball seems to cast light on the actors and throws off heat waves.

Walter Soyka, Principal
Keen Live, Inc.
Presentation, Motion Graphics & Widescreen Design
RenderBreak: A Blog on Innovation in Production

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